The Fijian Government is working closely with the United Nations for the release of the 43 Fijian peacekeepers who have been detained by an armed group in Syria.
The latest information we have is that they are safe and I can say now that the negotiations for their release have already begun. I want to assure the families of the soldiers we are doing everything possible to secure their safe return.
These men are peacekeepers, not combatants in the Syrian conflict, and there is no need for them to be detained.
At the outset, Mr. President, allow me to thank you for convening this open debate on regional partnerships in peacekeeping. Allow me also to thank the Secretary-General, and the representatives of the European Union and the African Union for framing the debate through their presentations. This statement is aligned to that just delivered by the delegation of Egypt on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement.
It is my honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Fiji and its fraternal Melanesian neighbours Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu , to the High Level Political Forum on the selected theme of “Achieving the MDGs and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, including the SDGs”.
This is my last opportunity to address you from the Chair of the Group of 77 and China at an ambassadorial meeting. At the handover meeting on 8th January, I’m happy to say that Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, will be present to pass the torch on to Bolivia. I know that the 8th of January will be a momentous day for us all, a day which we are greatly looking forward to.
Thank you for convening this gathering that we might all have the opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of one of humanity’s great leaders. I stand here today on behalf of the 133 countries of the Group of 77 and China to join the international voice that rises in praise of the late President Mandela.